In the boardroom or at a backyard barbecue, a woman's best beauty accessory is flawless, glowing skin. Yet we're bombarded at every turn by the effects of aging, stress, pollution and eating on-the-go. Add to that the heat of summer-with its moisture-sucking sun and makeup-melting humidity-and radiant skin may seem impossible.
Skincare experts, however, swear that nourishing your skin from the inside out can dramatically improve your complexion in as little as three weeks.
Foods To Turn Back The Clock
Celebrity aesthetician Bella Schneider has an impressive client roster that includes power women like Michelle Pfeiffer, Gayle King, Condoleezza Rice, Maria Shriver and Carly Fiorina. She says on-the-go women need to simplify their routines to four basic habits for glowing skin: Eating seasonal, "real" local foods (no Red Bulls or protein bars) that have not been processed or stuffed with preservatives; sipping water throughout the day and cutting back on sodas and alcohols other than wine; exercising regularly; and stocking up on foods rich in Vitamin A, which beef up the body's protective systems.
To combat the signs of age, Schneider's favorite wrinkle fighter is the acerola cherry, which contains 100% of your daily Vitamin C quota and protects against cell oxidation. She also suggests dark-colored vegetables like spinach and sweet potatoes that speed cellular turnover, functioning like an internal retinol. Foods high in zinc, like oysters, help fight sagging skin by boosting its elasticity and appearance of youth.
Foods That Fight The Elements
According to Elizabeth Somer, dietician and author of Eat Your Way to Happiness, 80% of skin aging is related to sun damage. "Anytime you get even a slight sunburn, you've gotten damage," she says. "There is no safe limit for sun."
Beyond limiting exposure and wearing sunscreen, eating the right foods can help prevent or even reverse the sun's effects. A recent study published in the Archives of Dermatology found that green tea may help block destructive ultraviolet rays and protect skin. Somer also suggests eating plenty of fresh fruits like watermelon, mangoes and oranges, which are loaded with vitamins and antioxidants and help restore skin cells. If suffering a burn, mushrooms contain high amounts of Vitamin B2, known for repairing damaged tissue.
Foods That Radiate
If Schneider could make just one food recommendation to her clients, it would be to eat more fresh berries (which she trusts more than frozen) because they infuse dull skin with color and brightness. The latest berry trend is the Himalayan sea buckthorn berry. Dr. Mehmet Oz has been singing its praises, suggesting that it be eaten and used topically on the face. The berry's high concentration of antioxidants, Vitamin C and the rare fatty acid Omega-7 nourish skin and hair and help stimulate collagen production. One recent study found that it may even help fight obesity.
Dryness is another clear giveaway of age and will drain the vibrancy from your complexion. Schneider suggests eating more cottage cheese, which contains selenium and other essential minerals that are known to fight dry skin and dandruff. Other foods that boost skin's moisture are olive oil, walnuts and fatty fish like salmon. And, if all else fails, break out the wine. Schneider says that red wine, containing thousands of polyphenols, will transform a dull complexion to its natural youthful glow.
"We are all so busy," says Schneider. "We have to choose our battles. If you prepare your fridge with the proper foods, you'll see a tremendous difference."
See also:In Pictures: Top 10 Foods For Glowing Skin
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Premature Aging Signs You Shouldn't Overlook